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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ron Washington, Different Adversity - 165

Up to bat in the 11th inning of a 2-2 game, Ron Washington did on April 20, 1980 what he did only once the year before, hit a home run. This one would be a game winner for the AAA Toledo Mud Hens.

It was enough for The Toledo Blade to feature the 27-year-old who'd seen only 10 major league games in a decade of minor league service.

"I've had a lot of adversity," Washington told The Blade after the victory, noting a decade that included a late entry into baseball due to the draft, the military kind, and torn up knees that almost ended his career in 1978.

Washington is going through another type of adversity, now 30 years later, a kind that is entirely of his own making.

In July 2009, Washington, now the manager of the Texas Rangers, admitted at a press conference last week, Washington used cocaine. A random drug test prompted him to inform the Rangers of his cocaine use. He only used the drug once, he told the team.

"I had a very weak moment," Washington said at a news conference last week. "I did wrong and I take responsibility for that and I'm sorry."

He has since admitted to marijuana use in his early minor league career and amphetamines use during his major league career, according to

Washington's was a playing career that spanned two decades. He got his first taste of the majors in 1977, playing 10 games for the Dodgers. He returned to the majors in 1981 with the Twins, playing each year following through 1989, the later three years with Baltimore, Cleveland and Houston.

By the time 1990 came around, Washington signed on with the Rangers for his final pro season. He played 101 games for the 89ers that year.

Washington managed and coached in the minors before making it back to the majors with Oakland in 1995 as a coach and instructor. It was in 2006 that the Rangers tapped him for their head job.

"I'm going to be a players' manager," Washington said in a USA Today story after accepting the position. "My job is solely to make sure that every player on the Texas Rangers feels like they are part of everything going on here."

Washington's gone 241-245 as the Rangers' manager.

As for his admissions last week, Washington was contrite.

"I'm just hoping and praying that people can forgive me and move forward," he said, according to "I am a good person ... no, I'm not a good person, I'm a damn good person, and I'm proud and I'm a fighter and I'm hungry and I made a mistake." 1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed: 84/880 - 9.5%
Made the Majors: 49 - 58%
Never Made the Majors: 35 - 42%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 17
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 29

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